Community Clean Up, (SAS Summit To Sea) April 6th 2019

48 wonderful people came along to throw everything at Woolbrook today. We met at the Youth Centre, and a big thank you to Ben for hosting and getting fully involved too.

For 2 hours from 10 o’clock we litter picked, chopped back weeds, pulled up ivy, walked several miles and put a huge amount of effort in generally to pick up an amazing amount of stuff.

Thank you to Lidl for organising 2 contractors to clear most of the banks – more still needs doing though. Our recommendation is a 10 foot high small mesh fence the length of the river on both sides as it is going to come back – and as 70% of ocean plastic comes from inland, we need to do our bit to stop this rubbish going straight down the river to the sea. Luckily (?) so much was caught in the undergrowth that we managed to get…. [fanfare]

8 full sacks of general rubbish

3 sacks of glass bottles

1 very full sack of tin cans

2 very full sacks of plastic bottles

Plus at least 8 sacks of garden waste from Lidl undergrowth!


Anna B, Alfie and me then tackled the Surfers Against Sewage ‘Brand Audit’. Almost a decade ago, SAS conducted the award-winning Plastic Pollution Brand Survey, that revealed that the majority of all beach litter (56%) was attributable to just twelve corporations, dubbed the Dirty Dozen:

• Nestle
• Coca-cola
• Walkers
• Kraft
• Tesco
• Mars
• Unilever
• Pepsico
• United Biscuits
• Carlsberg
• Co-op
• Asda

10 years later, the survey is being carried out again to find out what has changed, and SAS will use this data to challenge government and business leaders. The aim is to get the new Dirty Dozen and other businesses to cut out avoidable single-use plastic and redesign packaging, use recycled content and stop using virgin plastic and take responsibility. With the weight that Surfers Against Sewage now carry, this data can make real differences and will be used to shape policies.

For us, our Dirty Dozen was:
Brand Number of items
1 Lidl 195
2 Coca Cola 89
3 Strongbow 43
4 Carlsberg 42
5 Pepsi 39
6 Cadburys 38
7 Walkers 37
8 Budweiser 35
9 Lucozade 34
10 Monster 33
11 Mars 26
12 Nestle 23 }
12 McDonalds 23 }

It’s hard to describe how I feel about today’s clean-up. I feel sad about the mess but happy because we got so much. I feel hopeless because we only did this area just over a year ago and we found so much then, and just as much again (but we got a lot deeper into it today), but hopeful – but I feel hopeful because of the fantastic people that came along, including the awesome children who are so inspiring. I feel exhausted but energised. Weird how you can have such conflicting emotions!

Thank you to Aiden from Streetscene for picking up all the rubbish as arranged, and stopping for a nice chat.

Anyway, that’s it for organised clean-ups for a while – next one is Seafest in May.

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